Lewis has ignored the steps the PPP/C took while in office to promote inclusionary democracy

Dear Editor,

A letter in the name of Lincoln Lewis headlined ‘The deformities do not lie in the structure but in the refusal of persons to comply with the structure’ in your edition of July 3 caught my attention.

Mr Lewis’s letter is by and large a response to Dr Henry Jeffrey’s ‘Future Notes’ (SN June 28).

Though it might appear so, it is not my intention to insert myself in the debate between the two individuals, one a trade unionist, the other an academic. Suffice it is to say that Mr Lewis touched on an extremely sensitive matter about which all Guyanese should be concerned. I refer to the constitutional rights of all Guyanese.

Mr Lewis’s contention is that both the PPP/C and the APNU+AFC in and out of government practised or are practising the politics of deception and hypocrisy. According to Mr Lewis:

“Under the constitutional model of power-sharing…the opportunities for peaceful co-existence can be assured as long as there is respect for Articles 13, 38… Since 1992 the people’s choice and will at the voting booth have become more pronounced, but continue to be ignored by the politicians after they have gotten into office.” He goes on to express regret that “When in opposition the politicians seek to practise and call for it [inclusionary democracy], but when in office, they trample it.”

Mr Lewis conveniently chose to apply the broad brush approach to justify his claims that both the PPP/C like the APNU+AFC pay lip service to the concept of inclusionary democracy while in office. At the same time, in an effort to appear objective and even-handed, he chose to ignore all the steps the PPP/C took to promote participatory/ inclusionary democracy throughout its 23 years in government.

Languishing in the ‘plague on both their houses’ syndrome, Mr Lewis is of the view that with the APNU+AFC and PPP/C in government as one, “We the people would catch hell including rank and file Africans and Indians.”

Mr Lewis is obviously trapped in a surreal world. First of all, such an arrangement is wishful thinking at this point in time. Secondly, he should explain why the majority of people in this country are of the view that they are catching hell anyway with the APNU+AFC alone in power, and why there is nation-wide clamour for a return of the PPP/C to office.

Is Mr Lewis saying that Guyanese of one ethnic group or another should not enjoy freedom of association and that the PPP/C cannot speak for, or represent the interests of Afro-Guyanese or Amerin-dians? If that is what he is saying he must say so clearly and unequivocally.

While the competitive nature of our electoral politics has worked well, its deficiencies notwithstanding, and while there is special place for each ethnic group in our multiracial, multicultural society, in the final analysis, it is the democratically elected representatives of the people who, on assuming office, must do their level best to uphold and represent the common and individual interests and rights of every Guyanese. To have it otherwise would be in violation of the letter and spirit of the constitution.

And since in today’s context, our constitutional rights are being violated almost on a daily basis, it is incumbent on all those affected to stand up and be counted for legitimate class interests and constitutional rights.

Yours faithfully,

Clement J Rohee

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